Scott Morrison has asked Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to let a grieving daughter attend her father’s funeral after she was turned away due to the state’s draconian border closure.
Sarah Caisip, who lives in Canberra, applied for an exemption last month to visit her sick father in Brisbane – but it took 20 days to get approved and he died of cancer two days before her flight.
Now the 26-year-old, who is in hotel quarantine, is asking to attend the funeral today but officials have told her she is a Covid-19 risk and must go back to Canberra.
Sarah Caisip (pictured), who lives in Canberra, is in hotel quarantine in Brisbane after getting an exemption to enter Queensland to visit her father who was dying of cancer
‘Am I going to the viewing of the body and or the funeral? No because my exemption to attend either was declined by Qld Health,’ she wrote on Facebook.
Queensland’s borders are closed to the ACT even though it has not had a single case of coronavirus for two months.
Premier Palaszczuk faces an election next month and the tough borders are popular with most Queenslanders.
Mr Morrison has called the premier and asked her to show some compassion.
Premier Palaszczuk cheered and wooped when Brisbane was granted the AFL final and she let hundreds of staff enter the state
He told radio 2GB: ‘It’s not about borders, it’s not about federation, it’s not about elections.
‘The only ting that matters today is that Sarah can be with her family to mourn the passing of her father Bernard.
‘This is a heartbreaking case.’
Mr Morrison said he appealed to the premier to change her mind on the phone this morning.
‘Surely in the midst of all of this heartache, and everything that everyone is going through, surely just this once it can be done,’ he said.
‘I just hope they change their mind and let Sarah go to the funeral. I have done all I can.
‘There have been discussions with our chief medical officer and raising that with them and their health ministers.’
Mr Morrison said he has ‘these types of conversations with premiers on a range of issues all the time’.
‘I don’t seek to make them public but I rang the premier this morning and I hope she will reconsider,’ he said.
In the Queensland parliament today, Ms Palaszczuk accused the prime minister of ‘bullying her’.
She said: ‘I won’t be bullied nor will I be intimidated by the prime minister of this country who contacted me this morning, and who I made very clear to the fact, that this is not my decision.
‘I passed this onto the chief health officer, and it is the chief health officer’s decision to make.’
Mr Morrison strongly rejected any accusation of bullying and said he just wanted Miss Caisip with be reunited with her sister and mother.
The Prime Minister has also spoken to Miss Caisip to offer encouragement.
The 26-year-old earlier told 4BC Radio that she had planned to visit her dad for a father’s day surprise but the exemption took 20 days to get approved.
‘By the time they got back to me for the approval, dad had already passed away,’ she said.
‘I asked for an exemption just for a couple of hours to go to the funeral, I wasn’t asking them to leave like quarantine after that altogether.
‘They said I shouldn’t even be in Queensland because the exemption for me to come to Queensland was to say goodbye to my dying father, not to go to the funeral.’
Miss Caisip said she has spoken to six health officials and not a single one has shown her any compassion.
‘Each and every single one of them did not help me nor showed any compassion with my situation. They all just sounded like a robot,’ she wrote on Facebook.
Scott Morrison (pictured with wife Jenny) has asked Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to let a grieving daughter attend her father’s funeral
The Queensland premier has come under fire from federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg and other government MPs for keeping the border closed to parts of New South Wales and the ACT that have no community transmission of coronavirus.
Ms Palaszczuk has adopted nationalist rhetoric, pitting her state against the rest of Australia and even declaring that Queensland hospitals are ‘for our people’.
Ten days after that comment, a mother from Ballina, near the Queensland border, lost her unborn twin after she was flown 700km to Sydney for surgery because an exemption allowing her into Queensland took too long.
Then on Wednesday last week, the premier let hundreds of AFL players, WAGs and officials waltz into Queensland after clapping and wooping when Brisbane was handed the AFL grand final scheduled for 24 October.
Queensland grandmother Jayne Brown, 60, who was made to do hotel quarantine in in Brisbane following brain surgery, said the unfairness was ‘mind-blowing’.
The state’s chief health officer Jeanette Young has said a state would need to have 28 days with no community transmission before residents are allowed in to Queensland.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said it was a ‘very, very high benchmark to set’.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: ‘I don’t know if we’ll ever get to that number. They’re putting on a pretty big ask during a pandemic.’
Last week Mr Frydenberg slammed Ms Palaszczuk’s decision to allow the families of AFL players into the state.
‘I think the Queensland Premier has got some questions to answer here,’ he told A Current Affair.
‘How can it be okay for people to go up to prepare for a footy game, and its not okay to go to hospital for treatment?’
Passengers arrive on a charter-flight containing partners, wives and family members of AFL players at the Gold Coast Airport in July. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been accused of ‘double standards’ for letting them in while keeping out border residents